Sri Lanka Distributor Issues


Sri Lanka is currently waking up from years of civil war. There is a sense of optimism in the air and the country is most certainly open for business. In September I spent two weeks in the country and also had a chance to review a FMCG company’s distributor network.  I jotted down a few distributor issues I spotted in the market.

Visual management– distributor staff can benefit enormously from Visual management. For example, a clear distribution process mapped out with required documents can be hugely beneficial to the distributor.

Focus – in most organizations in emerging markets, it is critical to focus on the absolute basics. In many cases, distributor management lack skills and knowledge. Don’t try to do too much. You are likely to lose focus and confuse distributor staff in the process.

What gets measured gets done– unfortunately this is not always the case. If you don’t follow-up and take action on what you are tracking it will not get done. Some companies are simply tracking too much information. Ask yourself the question, what is absolutely critical to our business right now?

Standardization makes simple – eliminate the guess work. Every time someone has to think about a process it takes time. Standardized processes will increase quality standards and ensure the same consistent service. Standardized processes will also make it easier to visualize processes with pictures and photos.

Complexity – if you keep adding SKUs to your business it will add to the complexity for the distributor. For example, an increase in the number of SKUs sold will increase the complexity of estimating sales and load forecasting. Can the distributor handle the level of complexity in their business? What do you need to do to assist them in the process?

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